BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a $6,000 agreement with a Western Massachusetts landlord to resolve allegations it discriminated against families with children.

The East Longmeadow-based 253 Center Street Properties Inc. allegedly refused to rent to families with children because doing so would trigger its obligation to remove the lead paint hazards from its rental units.

"The state's lead paint law protects children from the damaging effects of lead, which include impaired development, learning difficulties, and behavioral problems," Coakley said. "Our office works to ensure that families with children are able to find lead-safe housing within the commonwealth."

253 Center Street allegedly posted a discriminatory advertisement for one of its Chicopee properties on Craigslist that stated families with young children were not eligible to rent the apartment because it had not been deleaded.

Under state law, it is illegal to discriminate against housing applicants because they have children or because renting to the applicants would require the abatement of lead hazards.

Under the terms of the assurance of discontinuance, 253 Center Street must pay $6,000 to the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center and delead both units in its Chicopee property within two years. An additional payment of $2,500 to the state will be suspended if the company complies with the other terms of the agreement.

If 253 Center Street sells or transfers the property before it obtains letters of full deleading compliance, it will need to pay $20,000 to the Childhood Lead Paint Prevention Program.

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